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News Coverage: Conservationists Call for Bay Protection During America’s Cup

The press conference held by Bay Area conservation and community groups helped us send a strong message to the City of San Francisco: We love the Bay and the America’s Cup, but the sailing regatta and associated waterfront crowds and development must be managed to protect our air, water, sensitive habitats, marine life and quality of life for all residents and visitors. Read our press release here.

Here are some of the news stories that were generated with links, text below:

 San Francisco Chronicle. Public weighs in with America’s Cup concerns
KCBS Radio and TV  San Franciscans concerned about Environmental Impact of Yacht Race
KGOTV Concerned residents packed San Francisco City Hall
Associated Press, Enviros call for better America’s Cup
KQED Radio

San Francisco Chronicle
Public weighs in with America’s Cup concerns
Will Kane, Chronicle Staff Writer
Friday, August 12, 2011
The public’s first reaction to San Francisco’s plan for the 34th America’s Cup regatta wasn’t really much of a surprise: Most like the idea of the world-renowned race coming to the city, but they have a few quibbles.
Among the concerns told to the Planning Commission Thursday were worries about the armada of yachts speeding into the bay so fast that they ram seals before dropping untreated sewage near sensitive shorelines, legions of tourists camping out in the front yards of Telegraph Hill to watch the races or the tons of trash that the millions of visitors are expected to leave behind in neighborhoods, parks and shorelines.
“I love the bay and I love the America’s Cup,” said Teri Shore, with the Turtle Island Restoration Network, an environmental group. “But I am getting cold feet because the environmental prenuptial that the city has developed does not go far enough.”
The race in 2013 is expected to generate $1 billion for the local economy and bring 5.5 million viewers.
The comments, which can still be made in writing until later this month, are the start of an arduous bureaucratic dance as the city, race organizers, government agencies and environmental groups try and settle on a final plan.
State law requires that the city and race organizers consider each comment made on an 8-inch-thick draft race plan and respond in writing. That final document will be the legal underpinning of the city’s plan to host what they say will be the greenest sailing race ever.
But there’s much more to be done, dozens of speakers told the Planning Commission.
“This is the only chance to get the environmental protections into a legal document,” Shore said.
Michael Martin, the city’s point man on the project, said he welcomes criticism of the plan.
“This is the backbone of the process,” he said. “We’re not supposed to have it all right now. In fact we shouldn’t.”
Numerous speakers from the Dolphin Club for swimmers and rowers said they worried the race, which will run for seven days next summer and 50 days in late summer 2013, will leave them unable to finish their daily swims.
“This event is looking to monopolize the bay for nine weeks of the year,” said Ken Coren, a vice president of the club. “We’re boaters, too. We’re here today to help the America’s Cup do this right.”
Others, like Jon Golinger, president of the powerful Telegraph Hill Dwellers neighborhood association, said he worried herds of onlookers would leave the designated viewing areas and watch the races on the other city landmarks that weren’t analyzed, like Telegraph Hill.
“I mean, people are going to flock to Coit Tower, ’cause that’s a place people know,” he said.
The environmental report doesn’t review every possible effect of the race, just the major impacts, Martin said. From experience with Fleet Week and Fourth of July celebrations, Martin said the city knows people will head to all kinds of places to watch events on the water.
Just because it isn’t in the report doesn’t mean the city is ignorant and unaware, he said. And besides, now that the issue has been raised, the city can address it.
A number of people, including commissioners, said they worried that the private development rights promised to lure Oracle CEO Larry Ellison to bring the race to San Francisco weren’t studied in enough detail.
Commissioner Rodney Fong said he was glad so many people came to express their thoughts on the race.
“You want to have concerns,” he said. “You want to have people coming out here and telling us what they think.”
http://sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2011/08/12/BAQB1KMDH2.DTL
This article appeared on page C – 1 of the San Francisco Chronicle
© 2011 Hearst Communications Inc.

KCBS San Franciscans Weigh In On Environmental Impact Of Yacht Race
This is the first chance for the public to weigh in on the lengthy draft EIR. There were 30 groups represented at the meeting who live and recreate along the bay and waterfront, but said their concerns were not included.
KCBS’ Barbara Taylor Reports:
San Franciscans Weigh In On Environmental Impact Of Yacht Race
”I’m here today because I love the bay, and I love the America’s Cup, but I’m getting cold feet,” said Teri Shore of the Turtle Island Restoration network. She said that the EIR doesn’t go far enough to protect the Bay Area’s air, water and marine life.
Deb Self of San Francisco Baykeeper said the America’s Cup will be great, if it is done right.
”I’m cautiously optimistic that the city will make good on its word that this will be a sustainable event with a positive environmental legacy,” said Self. “But I must say that there is still a way to go.”
The concerns include large crowds of people on land and large crowds of spectator boats on the bay.
This is only the draft EIR and modifications are expected in the final report.
(Copyright 2011 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

 

KGO TV SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) — Concerned residents packed San Francisco City Hall on Thursday to express fears that they’ll be crowded out by the America’s Cup event.
The event is still two years away, but the planning commission heard public comment on the draft Environmental Impact report on Thursday.
Three weeks ago, the City of San Francisco released its 1,600 page draft EIR. The document discusses the possible impact of the America’s Cup on traffic, air pollution and public spaces.
A small gathering of environmental and community activists stood on the steps of city Hall Thursday morning, not to protest against the America’s Cup, but to express concerns that spectators will foul the Bay Area by trampling sensitive shorelines and leaving piles of trash.
“All the thousands of marine vessels and cruise ships and spectators boats that come to the Bay Area are required to use the cleanest fuels and hook up to shoreside power,” said Teri Shore with the Turtle island Restoration Network.
All of the concerns are based on the expectation that thousands of boats and hundreds of thousands of people will come to watch the America’s Cup.
“Having these big boats on the bay is going to create a lot of great interest, and it’s going to draw hundreds of thousands of people,” said San Francisco Bay Keeper Executive Deb Self, adding that the spectators could reached “upwards of a million.”
Those numbers have no relation to what’s happened in the past with the America’s Cup long history in the United States.
In San Diego, the crowds in the tens of thousands never materialized. Sailing has never drawn a big audience in the United States.
“Maybe it will, maybe it won’t,” said Self, “but let’s make sure we have plans in place, because we don’t want people racing down to sensitive shorelines and crowding to look.”
At this afternoon’s hearing, the concern voiced most often was for what will happen with Aquatic Park.
“I basically will be cut off, as will many people who use this facility,” said one concerned resident.
“Today’s hearing is all about getting those kinds of comments, and we’re going to take those into account as well as written comments we receive and respond to those and pull them together in the final EIR of the year,” said project director Michael Martin.
The city’s target date for addressing the concerns heard on Thursday is November when the city hopes to get together a final Environmental Impact Report.
(Copyright ©2011 KGO-TV/DT. All Rights Reserved.)